Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has not taken charge of his new ministry, nearly a month after being stripped of key portfolios following a public fallout with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The stalemate between the two leaders continues despite Mr Sidhu's meeting with Rahul Gandhi last month.
According to reports, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was assigned to forge a truce between the two leaders. He, however, has not yet succeeded in brokering peace between them.
Mr Singh is reportedly adamant to not reallocate Mr Sidhu's previous portfolios to him.
Amarinder Singh aka "Captain" last month took away the Local Government portfolio from Mr Sidhu and assigned him Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources. His other portfolio of Tourism and Cultural Affairs was also taken over by the Chief Minister.
The decision was announced hours after Mr Sidhu chose to address a Facebook Live session instead of attending a cabinet meeting. "I cannot be taken for granted... I have been singled out in spite of collective responsibility," he had said, referring to the Congress's performance in Punjab in the national election.
After the Congress won eight of Punjab's 13 Lok Sabha seats, Amarinder Singh had said the party could have done better in the urban areas of the state, especially Bathinda, if not for Navjot Sidhu's remarks on Pakistan and the ongoing investigation into the Guru Granth Sahib desecration.
During polls, Mr Sidhu had targeted the Chief Minister, questioning why no criminal case was registered against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal over the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the police-firing incidents of 2015. Mr Sidhu had also accused the Chief Minister of blocking his wife Navjot Kaur's candidature from Amritsar.
Apart from the portfolio snub, Mr Singh also kept him out of crucial consultative groups announced to review progress and make changes in the government's flagship programmes and schemes.
Mr Sidhu later met Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and submitted a letter. "Met the Congress President, handed him my letter, appraised him of the situation (sic)," Navjot Sidhu had tweeted.
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